Hanif Abdurraqib and Devonté Hynes

In the premier episode of “Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists,” author Hanif Abdurraqib talks to producer/composer Devonté Hynes about their love of sports, their reverence for sampling, and how they find a balance between pessimism and hope.

“Artists On Writers | Writers On Artists” brings together luminaries in the fields of art and literature to have the conversations they themselves wish to have. This bi-weekly web series is a joint production of Artforum and Bookforum , and is sponsored by the Morgan Library & Museum.

Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry.) His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He released_ Go Ahead In The Rain: Notes To A Tribe Called Quest with University of Texas press in February 2019. The book became a New York Times Bestseller, was a finalist for the Kirkus Prize, and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His second collection of poems, A Fortune For Your Disaster_, was released in 2019 by Tin House, and won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Prize. His book A Little Devil In America: In Praise of Black Performance comes out on March 30th with Random House.

Devonté Hynes is a producer, multi-instrumentalist, composer, songwriter and vocalist. Raised in England, he started in the punk band Test Icicles before releasing two orchestral acoustic pop records as Lightspeed Champion. Since 2011, Dev has released four solo albums under the name Blood Orange–Coastal Grooves, Cupid Deluxe, Freetown Sound, and Negro Swan, all of which have been critically acclaimed; as well as 2019’s Angel’s Pulse mixtape.

His songs and albums have explored the complexities and ambiguities of 21st century identity, delving into memory, trauma, depression and anxiety, as well as the triumphs of vulnerable communities, including people of color and queer and trans communities, and where they intersect. 

Hynes has become well-known for his often surprising songwriting and producing collaborations with artists like Sky Ferreira (he helmed her 2012 single “Everything Is Embarassing”) as well as Solange Knowles (“Losing You”), and the list goes on from there - Caroline Polachek, Clams Casino, Florence and the Machine, Kindness, fka twigs, ASAP Rocky, Empress Of, P. Diddy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Blondie. He also produced for pop superstar Mariah Carey and he worked brilliantly with pop star Carly Rae Jepsen on the 2016 song “All That”. Dev Hynes was one of four artists invited to the Kennedy Center to perform alongside Philip Glass. 

More recently, Dev Hynes has emerged as an in-demand movie composer – his soundtracks include Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto, and Melina Matsoukas and Lena Waithe’s take on the Bonnie and Clyde mythology, Queen and Slim. Last year Hynes scored and soundtracked the HBO / Sky Atlantic series We Are Who We Are, directed by Luca Guadagnino (the director of Call Me By Your Name), and has scored the forthcoming Mainstream, also by Gia Coppola, and Passing, directed by Rebecca Hall, both set for release in 2021.